Thursday, June 16, 2016

56) Writing by candlelight and raising poultry for fried chicken.-Nov.14, 1944

Tacloban, Cancaboto Bay, Leyte, Philippines
APO 72 Leyte, Philippines

Somewhere in Philippines, Nov. 14, 44
Betty darling,

I received 2 more of your wonderful letters. They were dated the 16th & 18 of October. Dearest you are so understanding and sweet. I really don’t mind all the things I have to go through over here. Seems like just reading your sweet letters and knowing that you will be there waiting for me when I can come home, somehow makes it all OK!

One of the fellows just brought in some mail and I expected a couple of letters from you. I only received a letter from my Grandmother. She says that the leaves are really pretty now that you’ve had a frost. Sure hope to be there to walk through the leaves with you by next fall. Of course it may be a long time before fall that I get there. Lets hope so anyway. We really have so much to look forward to. I can really foresee a happy life-time for us together. I hope you can see far enough ahead to realize what a wonderful thing it would be. It would make all this and all that happens from now on over here seem worth while even more so than it has seemed so far. That would make me happy beyond description.

Notice this change in ink. And another change which is much better. The first ink was this new stuff made for the Parker “51” and I grabed it by mistake. Seems that it isn’t good in just any pen. This that I am using now is O.K. I guess. As yet we haven’t gotten any lights in the tents and I am finishing this by candle light. I started writing just before it got dark.

Glad Mother decided to go to New York for a while. I think she deserves a little vacation. I sure am proud of my Mom the way she handles the business and all. She sure is a swell businesswoman. I’ll bet she and all the old friends up there really have a swell time together. It has started to rain and blow a little while I’ve been writing. I just noticed it. I really hope we don’t have a bad storm again! I am beginning to see what they meant about this being the rainy season. Guess by the time you get this thing, back there will really be in full swing as far as winter goes. Should be getting quite cold about now.

I don’t believe I have written since we got our poultry farm started. We have a pen out in front of the tent with 3 ducks & 2 chickens in it. We are going to have a fried chicken dinner soon. We intend to save the ducks till Thanksgiving and have a big duck roast. Wish we had some of your pies to eat with it. Also you to cut the pie & maybe even roast the ducks for us. Oh well! Can’t have all the good things at once.

I am reading a pretty good book right now. “The Cup And The Sword” by Alice Tisdale Hobart. I am about half way through it and it is pretty good. Seems to be a historical novel about the wine industry in California. Maybe you have read it.

Well darling this will really be about the last page. Can’t seem to think of much more to write about. Except that you are the one and only love that I have. Darling remember that you are the only one I really think about all the time and long for.

Yours always,

NOTES From the 9th FS Unit History:
  • Nov. 11th--Hundreds of small anti-personnel bombs were dropped during the night , but our unit suffered no casualties. 
  • Nov. 12th-- The enemy made raids during the day on shipping in the harbor, with hits on two Liberty ships. Two enemy planes fell to our anti-aircraft fire.
  • Nov. 14th-- a surprise bombing and strafing raid on our strip. Major Jordan and Capt. R. Swift, about to man their planes, were forced to drop to the ground. A bomb exploded about 30 feet away and a strafing pass went right through the area. Neither pilot was injured, although Capt. Swift extracted a sizable piece of shrapnel from the parachute he was about to don! Personnel in camp were treated to an aerial show overhead when a Dinah, hit by ack ack, burst into flames and crashed. Two 38's got on the tail of a lone Oscar and the wingman shot it down after the lead plane overshot. It is seldom that ground personnel witness such action, and the sight was most welcome.
  • Nov. 15th---The weather, very treacherous in this area, closed in suddenly on while 7 of our planes were airborne. Three were able to land safely at Buri, but four others, after flying all around the island of Leyte trying vainly to find an opening, finally were forced to crash-land. Lt. Hovik landed in a rice paddy near Carigara Bay, killing a water buffalo in the process, but suffered no injury to himself. The remaining three bellied in near Bugho, southeast Leyte. All planes were total losses although several trips were made later to salvage parts.
  • Nov. 17th---An enemy dive-bomber, a Val, flew over camp just at dusk on the 17th and attempted to bomb the airstrip. It was shot down in flames by our ack ack - a spectacular sight.
  • Nov. 18th---started off with an exciting series of raids. One enemy plane was seen going down smoking after a P-38 attack. A second was lost from sight with a '38 in a most favorable position on its tail. Some enemy planes made suicide dives on shipping in the harbor. One crashed into a Liberty ship, setting it on fire; another missed and fell into the water while a third was blown up by ack ack before reaching its objective. One plane dropped anti-personnel bombs on our strip, damaging 3 planes and slightly wounding T/Sgt. O. Wallace, S/Sgt. Colborn and PFC B. Peterson.
  • Nov. 19th--- 2 more Japs made suicide dives at shipping, but both completely missed their targets and crashed into the water. Ack ack fire was practically non-existent, and their inability to hit their targets is difficult to understand. Then came several uneventful days, and Thanksgiving came and went without disturbing the even tenor of our ways. 
  • Nov. 24th--- In the morning an enemy twin-engine bomber, probably a Frances, was hit by ack ack fairly close to camp. It caught fire, and after proceeding a short distance, crashed. A sleek looking Dinah flew over camp heading for home. One of our '38's gave chase, and even though the enemy plane had a great advantage in altitude, F/O H. Hammett was able to get behind it and shoot it down. 
  • Nov. 26th--- an enemy plane heading in the direction of camp was hit by ack ack. It started burning, but crashed before reaching our vicinity. There were a few anxious moments when it looked as if our camp was about to become the plane's last resting place! 
Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on    

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